LOS ANGELES—As the California Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee prepares to consider the merits, or lack of them, of Assemblyman Isadore Hall III's mandatory "barrier protections" in porn bill, AB 1576, the hosts of KABC's Mid-Day LA, Jillian Barberie and John Phillips, invited adult actress Mia Li on their show at 2 p.m. to talk about the bill and other issues affecting the industry.
Though Li only got about eight minutes of air time, the hosts were happy to let her say what she wanted about the bill, and asked about the visit Li and four other actresses had made to Hall's local office in Compton yesterday.
"Nina Hartley and a few other performers and I had gathered to meet at Isadore Hall's office to formally present him our signed petitions opposing AB 1576," Li said, though somehow it never came out that Hall himself wasn't present, but that the group spoke with his District Director, Heather Hutt.
"AB 1576 is a bill Isadore Hall had proposed in regards to enforcing mandatory condom use," Li continued. "It also completely changes our safety and health standards on sets, in regards to our testing procedures and the protocols that we have already in place to keep everything safe and kosher for our scenes."
At this point, Barberie noted that she and Phillips had also talked with former adult actress and "friend of the show" Tabitha Stevens, who had told them, "You know, this guy's getting involved in business that just doesn't affect him," with Barberie adding, "and it seems like that's the general consensus of the community at large."
Li noted that her group had behaved and dressed "very professionally... because we do want to be taken seriously as performers in part of an industry that legislators are trying to change when they themselves have never been present on set.
"Hopefully, they will withdraw this bill and collaborate with the performers and hear us and hear what we have to say," she added.
Phillips, talking about their having previously had Hall on the program as a guest, noted, "We debated it because both Jillian and I oppose the bill," and that Hall had claimed that it was entirely a workplace safety issue, but to Phillips, "this is about morality, this is about him trying to impose his morality on sex on other people that may or may not want to take his advice, and it's also about dollars, when you really look at it, because various AIDS organizations that are very actively involved in politics in Sacramento look at this as a political football and it's an issue that they really desperately want in the win column, and one of the things that they have the ability to do is raise a lot of money; they raise it for charity and they can take those lists and they can also use them for political purposes if they need to, and I think, even if they're not writing big sums of money to these assemblymen that are getting behind this, he knows that he has the ability to go to them and raise money off of this issue for whatever it is he's going to run for next."
Clearly, Phillips was referring to AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president, Michael Weinstein, though he never mentioned them by name—and he also apparently alluded to the fact that Hall himself is planning a run for the state Senate.
"Indeed," Li responded, "and I think, in this day and age—I remember way back in high school learning about our government, how politicians should have a certain level of disinterestedness; that these actions and the bills that they try to pass and what have you should be for the people and improving their lives. However I'm pretty sure that assumption that you have with regards to where these politicians including Hall are coming from and what motivates them—it's a very interesting issue, and if it was genuinely about workplace safety and health, then why not have a conversation with those of us who already implement amazing safety and health standards? We haven't had an outbreak in ten years of HIV on set."
When both hosts noted that Hall was particularly upset about the industry's testing standards, Li was right there with an answer.
"The standards that they will implement are CDC standards, which are actually far surpassed by our current testing standards," she advised. "We use the most sensitive tests that have a window for exposure, and the test is very, very sensitive, more sensitive than the tests that they're proposing to implement, so that actually compromises our current testing system, which is much better than what they're trying to have us use. So it's a contradictory statement in this reality."
When Phillips pointed out that proposing AB 1576 was an easy choice for Hall, since his district—the 64th, which serves the city of Compton—had voted overwhelming for Measure B, which is similar to AB 1576, Li said that that seemed strange to her.
"It's strange, because that bill implementing Measure B doesn't affect Compton; you don't have talent or performers that are really from that area," she said. "So it's strange that he's coming at the industry when it's not even present in his jurisdiction... It just does not fit, and it should be very peculiar to the people who are looking at who's presenting this bill."
That was all Li had time to say, though the hosts continued discussing the topic for several more minutes, during which Phillips noted, in response to a caller, that if AB 1576 passed, that they'll probably "go after football next, particularly for kids in high school and college," and also other contact sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
The entire segment can be heard on KABC's website here.
All in all, it was a positive show for the adult industry's opposition to AB 1576, which will have its first Senate hearing tomorrow morning at 9:30, before the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.